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Va. lawmakers say Northam’s ‘story is just really inconsistent’

Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-03 20:42:00-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two days after a racist photo on Governor Ralph Northam’s yearbook page rocked The Commonwealth, state lawmakers met for the first time Sunday for a budget meeting.

Democratic Delegate Jeff Bourne, said feelings regarding the scandal are still fresh.

"This is just another example of the albatross and the legacy of slavery that continues to be hung around our necks," said Bourne.

He said a cloud not only loomed over the budget meeting, but other meetings to come.

"It'll be kind of difficult to operate freely because it'll be the 800 pound gorilla in the room," Bourne said.

Ralph Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page.

Ralph Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page.

That 800 pound gorilla --a photo on Governor Northam’s page in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School Yearbook. It depicts one person dressed in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan, white hood and robes.

In a statement Friday, Governor Northam admitted to being in it, but in a press conference Saturday he said otherwise.

"There's no way I was in that picture. I am not the person in the KKK uniform and I am not the person to the right," said Northam.

However, Northam admitted that same year he recalls darkening his face as part of a Michael Jackson costume.

"I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that," Northam said.

Delegate Luke Torian.

Delegate Luke Torian.

Democratic lawmakers maintain the only thing left for the governor to do is resign.

"His story is just really inconsistent -- because of that inconsistency we find it difficult for him to continue to lead the commonwealth," said Delegate Luke Torian.

But Republican Delegate Chris Jones said the scandal won't impact the work at hand.

"No we have a job to do -- we put our budget out. We'll have halfsheets on the members desks on Tuesday. We'll have a presentation to the membership on Wednesday, and then we'll have a vote on Thursday."

WTVR CBS 6 reached out to the Republican Party for further comment, and they declined that request.